Super League: Salford Red Devils hold on to score victory over Wakefield
Last Updated: 16/02/14 10:01pm
Salford Red Devils began their new era on a successful note but Wakefield almost spoiled the party with a tremendous second-half rally.
In front of a stadium record crowd of 7,102, the excitement began with a parachute drop into the AJ Bell Stadium by the more famous Red Devils and Salford owner Marwan Koukash - who had predicted the opening game would be more enjoyable than the first time he had sex - was all smiles at half-time when his new-look team led 18-0.
But Koukash was in a mean-looking mood throughout the second half as the Wildcats, inspired by debutants Paul McShane and Pita Godinet and veteran forward Ali Lauitiiti, struck back with three tries in the third quarter.
Brian Noble's team, Super League wooden spoon winners in 2013, were good enough to hold on for an 18-14 opening-round win but the former Great Britain boss will know he has plenty to do if he is to turn the Devils into a championship-winning team.
He had 13 of his 14 close-season signings in the starting line-up and saw the biggest of them, England stand-off Rangi Chase, limp out of the action midway through the first half.
It did not seem to matter as Salford scored three tries without reply, inspired by Chase's half-back partner Tim Smith, the former Wakefield scrum-half.
Second rower Harrison Hansen set the tone with an early crunching tackle on Wakefield winger Peter Fox which gave his side the position from which they opened the scoring, his former Wigan team-mate Gareth Hock touching down after Junior Sa'u had palmed the ball back from Chase's grubber kick.
Full-back Jake Mullaney kicked the first of his three goals to put Salford into a 6-0 lead which they gradually built on.
Wakefield, who lost one of the newcomers, Jimmy Keinhorst, to injury after 17 minutes, worked their way into the game and might have drawn level had Fox been able to take Richard Mathers' pass on 19 minutes but the Red Devils had things very much their own way up to half-time.
When Chase limped out of the action, Smith stepped up to the mark, laying on tries for Harrison and substitute Andrew Dixon in a six-minute spell just before half-time, when the home side led 18-0.
Godinet, one of three new signings who have been in the country less than a week, sparked Wakefield's fightback, scoring one try and creating another within 10 minutes of the re-start.
His pinpoint pass got second rower Matt Ryan charging through a gap in the home defence before he intercepted a Shane Howarth pass to go over himself.
Paul Sykes succeeded with his second conversion attempt to leave the Wildcats trailing by eight points and they thought they had scored again on 53 minutes when Lauitiiti barged his way to the line but referee James Child decided he had not grounded the ball.
Lauitiiti was not to be denied, however, for the former New Zealand international proved unstoppable on the hour as he crashed over with a trio of defenders on his back.
Sykes was wide with the goalkick but the visitors were on a roll and they might have scored again eight minutes before the end when left winger Reece Lyne dropped Godinet's floated pass.
First Utility Super League
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K RLiveSalford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield WildcatsvsHull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington WolvesvsWigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Super League 2014, round one
Kirk Dixon passed the one thousand point mark for Castleford who got their campaign off to a winning start with victory at Bradford.
Tom Briscoe scored a debut hat-trick as Leeds beat Hull KR 34-6 in front of a record crowd at the KC Lightstream Stadium.
Salford won their first game of the new season after handing debuts to all 13 of their starting line up against Wakefield.
- Dixon 'the ultimate pro'
- Noble happy with opening win
- Betts: Tougher tasks ahead
- McDermott praise for Briscoe
- Vikings on the rampage
- Briscoe stars for Rhinos
- Tigers rally to beat Bulls
- Cummins allays turmoil fears
- Radford relieved at narrow win
- Hull cling on for victory
- Vikings v Broncos: Teams
- Red Devils v Wildcats: Teams
- Bulls v Tigers: Teams
- Hull KR v Rhinos: Teams
- Walsh: Good start for Saints
- Saints storm past Wolves
- Hull v Catalan Dragons: Teams
- Wolves v Saints: Teams
- Rovers to set crowd record
- Wellens: new boys boost Saints
- Forward thinking from Wolves